The Republic of Ireland held on for a creditable draw against the European champions

The Republic of Ireland defended resolutely to achieve an fine 0-0 draw away to European champions the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier.

The hosts dominated the Group Three match in Nijmegen but they could not find a way past Irish keeper Marie Hourihan.

The Netherlands felt they should have been awarded a late penalty for hand ball but it was not given.

The teams are level at the top of the group on seven points from three games.

The Netherlands put the Republic under huge pressure but their defence was rock solid as they remained unbeaten in qualifying after wins against Northern Ireland and Slovakia.

The hosts were the heavy favourites to claim victory and rained down shots in the second half, but with 10 behind the ball Ireland held out

The result left Colin Bell’s side second in table as the Netherlands have a better goal difference.

Eight European nations, plus hosts France, will feature in the 24-team World Cup finals from 7 June to 7 July in 2019.

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